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12.8 E-Commerce Storefront Solutions
A number of different e-commerce storefront options are available to business owners
and Web developers. They range from a simple instant online storefront supplied by
another Web site, to building your own shopping cart system. This section examines
some of the options.
Instant Online Storefront
You supply the products—the instant online storefront does the rest. There is no need
to install software. All you do is use your Web browser to point and click your way to
a virtual store. You use a template provided by the online storefront and choose fea-
tures, configure settings, and add your products—upload images, descriptions, prices,
and captions.
There are some disadvantages to this approach. You are limited by the templates
offered by the online storefront provider. The number of products you can sell may also
be limited. Your store may have a “look and feel” similar to the other instant stores
hosted by the provider. However, this approach provides a low-overhead, low-risk
approach for a small business owner with limited technical expertise. The storefront
provider will often provide merchant account and payment automation.
Some instant storefront solutions are free with limited service or a limited number of
products. Others are fee-based and may charge hosting fees, processing fees, and monthly
fees. A few popular instant storefront solutions are Yahoo! (,
Earthstores (, and Shopify ( Figure 12.7 shows
screenshots from a trial store on Yahoo!
Figure 12.7
Yahoo! makes it
easy to create an
instant storefront
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